Will someone ever tell Chavez he is out of touch with reality?

November 14, 2010

(If you invent the wheel, I will invent communism and take the wheel away from you. Get it?)

Chavez comments today in his Alo Presidente simply show how out of touch he is these days. The man who used to walk the streets, no longer even rides the subway, limiting himself to making statements of what he is told and clearly, he is not being told the truth. He rides in helicopters accompanied by more helicopters. He is simply out of touch:

–“It would be good for Polar workers to determine who exploits them if it is Chavez or Mendoza?

Well, let’s see: Polar pays higher. Polar will pay tomorrow four months year and bonus, while Chavez will pay three in three installments. Polar pays severance when your leave. Polar does not force its workers to go to political rallies or wear any t-shirts. Polar gives each worker two cases of beer every month.

Should I go on Hugo?

–“Opposition parties want to make the subway chaotic

Did you even see the people that were jailed? Did you ask where they live? They all live on your once stronghold of the West of Caracas. These “politicians” included a lactating woman, also a pregnant one, this all happened in Pro-Patria, once your enclave, not in fancy neighborhoods, very far from the oligarchs. The bald guy who was prominent on the pictures said: I am just a user of the subway, all we ask is that the Government respond and fixed the subway”

Hugo why don’t you jail those that gave the maintenance contract to the Spaniards, who now have no clue how to fix things? Take a ride in the subway, but don’t call in advance. Look at the pictures.

–“Per capita income in Venezuela is among the highest, the problem is that we spend it all

Hugo, Hugo. You should read the book how to lies with statistics. If you calculate the same per capita income using the SITME exchange rate, it is no longer among the highest. And if those that suck up to you did not fake numbers so much, you would realize that it is impossible to save money to anyone earning even two or three times minimum wage. Do you know how much salaries have gone up this year in the public sector? 6.5% when inflation, so far in the year is 23%. You have all your expenses paid for, go out, try to buy something even in your Bolivarian supermarkets.

–“Real State crooks should go to jail

Unfortunately Hugo, if you apply the same criteria, then you are the biggest crook of them all. You have promised housing over and over again and have been unable to build more houses than Caldera did in any given year in any of your long and tiring eleven years in Government. Why don’t you measure yourself against the same criteria?

If you did, you and your urban planners would all be in jail. Same if you jail those that do not complete housing projects.And please don’t make empty promises again that sound so fake like you did today: “Now we really are going to build housing”

Really?

With that sentence you admit you have failed and you are once again promising what you can’t deliver.

–“Public Employees should not spend it all, they should invest in the Public Stock Market…if they buy CANTV shares, this would allow CANTV to invest

Hugo, Hugo. If you barely understand socialism and hate capitalism, why do you even want to play being capitalist? When someone buys a share of CANTV (Of which you own 95%) CANTV gets nothing, the owner of the shares does. So, when shares trade hand, the company that issued the shares gets absolutely nothing. Only when you do an IPO (Initial Public Offering) does the company get something. And Hugo, let me tell you, in your long eleven years in power, there was only ONE, yes, just “UNO” IPO’s in the local exchange and I don’t want to say the name, because you hate that company.

But going back to CANTV, you own the shares. You removed the possibility of Venezuelans buying CANTV shares, because you monopolized them all. In fact, so far in 2010 a total of 170,000 shares of CANTV have traded in the Caracas Stock Exchange that you want to compete with. At Bs. 3.35 per share average, that is about Bs. 565,000 total for the whole year (About $120,000 at the Bs. 4.3 rate). At Bs. 10,000 per worker like you suggested today, the whole of CANTV trading would acommodate about 56 (five six) of your three million public workers. Not simple Hugo.

Think about it, at 0.5% commission, all of CANTV would generate in all of 2010 about Bs. 2,000 in commissions for your public exchange (About 500 bucks ta the higher rate of Bs. 4.3). That does not even pay the daily lunch of the President of that new Exchange.

You better ask your advisers about these numbers, you are about to create a whole bureaucracy and subsidy…for nothing.

But again, you are a socialist, why your interest in developing capitalism?

–Finally Hugo, just a suggestion, why don’t you say you will jail any of your collaborators that offers you something and fails by say 20%. Thus, if next year GDP grows by less than 1.6%, there goes Giordani to jail. If inflation is more than 27%, uups.., there goes Giordani again to jail. If oil production falls, uups, there goes Ramirez.

It may just work better than the current system.

Just a thought! Get in touch with your reality!

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59 Responses to “Will someone ever tell Chavez he is out of touch with reality?”

  1. deananash Says:

    Roy and Kolya, thanks for the interesting opinions.

    In the end, we’re all narcissists. My mother serves others to please her God. (Making her God happy makes her happy.)

    Me, my reasons are more self-interested.

    I help others because it’s good for me. Specifically, I want to live in a better world, and a world where everyone is educated is indeed better – and not just for me.

    Anyway, thanks for your contributions. I’ve enjoyed looking at things from your perspectives.

  2. Roy Says:

    Kolya,

    Just wanted you to know I peaked back at this old thread and read your comment. You are right. This discussion lends itself to a long meandering debate, not short paragraphs.

    I always saw her as a “classist” and recognize that it came from having been born and raised in Russia, as was Lenin. Her philosophy becomes particularly weak when she addresses art and love.

    I guess I never looked at her work as being definitive, the way that many of her advocates do. She came to the U.S. at a time when the “Industrialists” were being vilified and Marxist thought was gaining ground amongst “intellectuals”. She became a counterbalance to the leftist extremism of the time.

    I too will stop here.

  3. Kolya Says:

    Roy, if you get to read this, my apologies for the tardiness. I reflected on your question for a while because I wanted to send you a fair and thoughtful reply. As much as I enjoy commenting in blogs such as this, this medium does not lend itself to properly reply to questions such as yours. There are plenty of insightful and interesting comments, but this is this rapid-pace medium in which discussions move on quickly and brief replies rule. Enough preamble, so here is my unfairly brief and incomplete reply.

    Being an anti-Leninist to the core, I have to say that from early on the Randian outlook struck me as having a Leninist flavor. This may sound absurd, since Ayn Rand despises Bolshevism (let us remember that despite all his talk about the masses, Lenin saw himself above the masses.) By Leninist flavor I’m not referring to the particular ideas but by the dogmatic flavor (I know she denied being a dogmatist), by the disdain felt toward those who are of the wrong “class” (to use a Marxist term), by the black and white view of the world, and by a wrong understanding of human nature.

    One of Rand’s central ideas concern the respective roles of reason and emotions. She had it exactly backward. Science has shown that David Hume was correct, not Ayn Rand. Interestingly, Adam Smith (David Hume’s good friend) had a deeper (and more benevolent) understanding of human nature than Rand.

    In addition, I happen to think that charity, compassion, empathy and altruism are not things that are overemphasized in society. (I think she denied it (I’m not sure), but it seems obvious that she was strongly influenced by Nietszche and perhaps even by the Social Darwinists. Also, there is no denial that what she wrote about Hickman, a repellent murderer, is creepy.)

    In any event, one of my main problems with Rand (or perhaps more with the Randians) is that they pay short-shrift to the contingencies of life. Circumstances for which we have zero control play an enormous role. Even in prosperous and free countries it is not only a matter of pluck, a strong work ethic and creativity.

    Okay, I know this is inadequate and badly written but I have to go, so I’ll stop here.

  4. deananash Says:

    My last point goes directly to loroferoz’s, about a country needing to “educate” (my word, not his) itself. (If I may paraphrase him, basically, countries need to ‘spend’ themselves out of their madness, and I don’t mean monetarily.)

    He then listed quite a few good examples, but left out what was and is arguably the world’s biggest: China under Mao.

    That Mao – and his ideology – was responsible for more deaths than any other person in history is well-documented. (One could argue that Mao wasn’t ‘evil’ – that his goal wasn’t to kill 20-40 million of his country, but that is entirely beside the point one way or the other. Because he did kill them.)

    His reign of terror was just one disaster upon another, without end. Sound familiar?

    Withdraw your minds and let the education begin. Everyone who is forced to stay is already screwed (lost). The sooner it begins, the sooner it will end.

  5. deananash Says:

    So many interesting comments.

    @Kepler & Roy, I AGREE, which is why I used the Cuba example. There, despite having the minds (thinkers) withdrawn, Castro still survives. That was my point. (I now realize that it alone isn’t going to get rid of Chavez.)

    But why let Castro survive AND have the benefit of their productivity? Without the ‘men of the mind’, PDVSA will collapse, or be, as it already has become, greatly diminished. (Of course, Chavez can simply hire the Chinese to pump the oil, but in the end, his philosophy is totally bankrupt and he can only go on pretending as long as the producers allow him.)

    @Koyla, I pity the poor and suffering and have spent the last 10 years of my life – and all of my money – helping them. My comments were more of a statement of fact than an affirmation that I agreed with it:

    I know that there are many innocents suffering: “The sins of the father are visited upon the children.”

  6. Roy Says:

    Kolya,

    Re: Ayn Rand

    I would have to agree with you about her excessively large ego. Personally, think that her view of humanity was far too black and white. As thought provoking as her ideas are, her conclusions have only limited practical use as a result of this failure to see or acknowledge the full extent of human complexity.

    However, I am curious as to just what part of her ideals you find “abhorrent”. That is a pretty strong adjective. You and I are usually on the same page, more or less, which is why I would like to know where you are coming from on this one.

  7. AuvienLobo Says:

    Some of you guys forget the Venezuelan philosophy, if it hits the fan, is it really shit? how many revolutions till we notice?(fan goes round and round), forget that I farted before I started this words…

  8. moctavio Says:

    The best scenario for the opposition and Venezuela is exactly that, that he does not hand over power. That will get him out but not under his terms.

  9. metodex Says:

    there’s a common conception around venezuelans and opposition polititians that chavez can change that he should admit failure or change the way hes doing things.He does not believe socialism/communism is a failure,he doesn’t believe the USSR is dead and he most certainly will not be a good president if he decides to change or if he keeps on the same.

    He has to resign,but he definitely won’t.
    Elections mean bullshit unless he wins.
    If we(the oppo) win on 2012,caos will come.
    He won’t give up the throne so easily.
    And if he does,is just to plan a coup.

    This is the reality the opposition has to accept
    And the one Chavistas talk about when no one is listening

  10. loroferoz Says:

    Ok, Kepler, let me put it this way.

    There’s consensus in the mainstream, left and right in most of Europe that a public health care system should be maintained. Probably, that medicines should be subsidized by the State. That pensions should be overseen by the State, if not owned by the same. That education ought to be publicly managed by a ministry. Probably, that railroads and other public utilities should be State-managed. That immigration should be managed by a centralized institution in a ministry. That the labor market is to be tightly regulated. That tariffs for foreign products are there to protect local production and farmers.

    The Social components to democracy in Europe, if you will. With differences, at different qualities and efficiencies depending on country, they work there. There has been no move to draw the power and budget for these tasks from the central government and it’s ministries, in most of Europe.

    Let me spell the situation in Venezuela. None of these things work in Venezuela, managed by the government in Caracas. Never have. It is worse now but it was bad enough before. Public health care, pensions and everything else directly managed by the central government STINK AND STANK BEFORE.

    Universities and PDVSA did/do not sink to that level while they have/had autonomy. Private health insurance and pensions, even those paid for by the budget of a public sector employer like PDVSA or the Universities, are what make some people sleep well at night here. The others are in constant fear of falling sick. Even policing and public security began to go bad, and private security literally exploded.

    So, I do not believe, now, that

  11. Kepler Says:

    Loroferoz,

    “European style social-democracy works in most of Europe, not here in Venezuela. ”
    Loro, who is talking about social democracy? That sounds similar, for me, to the words I read from the Chavistas about those countries I mentioned having “socialist systems”. Western Europe is not “social democratic”. Western Europe is pluralistic, with good and bad and mediocre governments from every shade and colour from the democratic spectrum. Socialism or social democracy is NOT a system. A US American told me at school he was told “the US is a biparty system”. I am not sure if that assesment is said in many US schools, but here people don’t see any one party programme as “the system” and if you follow up a bit of politics in every country you will things change, government styles change. They are all fighting
    and they are doing so mostly through parliament, which can be very interesting. Depending on the country people know more or less how to debate (Germany versus Italy, for instance).

    It depends on the country but here in many countries but for France and tiny Netherlands regional governments have a lot of independence and power to the regions.
    On the other hand, there is a relevant discussion about competences. I think this discussion should always exist because there is no fixed rule for that that should be enshrined in a “constitution”: in some areas, at some times,
    regional authorities become less effective due to overheads, etc. In other times it is the other way around. There is no rule for that. Society and economics are not natural sciences.

  12. CarlosElio Says:

    We need to pluck feathers from chavez wings, lest him keep us in fearful servitude

  13. loroferoz Says:

    Kepler: And I am not expecting Venezuelans to come up with the miracle that the Germans and Japanese performed. Coming to their senses mean mainly eschewing radicalism and extremism, as well as childish beliefs and irrational hangups and choosing systems that agree with their own realities.

    The real advantage of other countries in relation to Venezuela is that they have longer philosophical and rationalist traditions.

    For example, I am fully convinced that European style social-democracy works in most of Europe, not here in Venezuela. Here the Central Government has not been worth squat (meaning it harms more than it benefits) for as long as memory serves me (much more so now!). Venezuela cannot prosper with more than 10 ministries, preferably with few tasks and in no way able to interfere with economic activity, and an independent Central Bank with very definite and hard rules for emission of money. Complicated bureaucratic processes and licenses should be tossed overboard. Period. Most of the other, simple and really necessary ones, should be entrusted to every single instance and civil servant of local government (seals for almost everyone, so no one can block the doorway and collect on it).

    As for the majority suffering for a minority of fanatics: Let me remind you that most of that 80% DID enthusiastically support turning over their own individual responsibilities for government and their own lives, not just with Hugo, but before.

    So did other countries and peoples. It’s not abstract justice. It’s real consequences of idiocy, Darwin Awards-like. And there’s nothing I can possibly come up or imagine to avoid it. Wished I that Hugo came to his senses, renounced Socialism and resigned now, or that his followers saw reality, or that the 26-S election went 70%-30% instead of 51%-49%. But probably, Hugo will go on, unable to admit failure, until the majority is willing to take risks to retake their rights. Or until the whole building collapses on everyone (maybe burying Hugo), and has to be rebuilt. Most probably the latter. No sense of history helps Hugo here.

    ” You got to let them live their life, all you have to make sure is that they do not get to a position of power cuz they will destroy whatever is around them.” Depending on the amount of power, that is right for every single human being present or past. Except for hand-counted people you can call saints. We Venezuelans, are especially vulnerable to that.

  14. Kepler Says:

    I agree with you, Kolya, on Rand. But I did not want to into that. But I was puzzled for a long time about how people in the US would call her a “philosopher”. I was puzzled until I heard the Dutch were referring to our former prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, as philosopher as well.
    :-p

    I think it is dangerous to base one’s “strategy” on a fiction bestseller that is completely oblivious of psychological realities, a country’s particularities and history’s lessons…

  15. Kolya Says:

    I suspect that I’m a small minority here because I think Ayn Rand’s ethical principles are abhorrent and she, as an individual, was as a rather screwed-up person with an unhealthily huge ego. (I know that one is not supposed to conflate the artist with the art, the writer with the work, but with Rand this is hard to do since she supposedly lived according to the principles elucidated in her works.)

    In addition, I disagree with:

    “But now, [Cuba] is full of ‘moochers’ and they are basically getting what they deserve. (And yes, I know that there are many innocents suffering: “The sins of the father are visited upon the children.”)”

    Innocents, of course, do not deserve punishment for the actions of others. In the case of children, it is obvious that they do not deserve to suffer for what their parents or grandparents did. And how about those who did not leave Cuba because they were taking care of frail family members? Did they deserve lack of freedom and oppression? (I guess it was unRandian for them to do so and they deserve what they got.)

    Anyway, even in the freest countries all too often the good suffer and the wicked prosper.

  16. island canuck Says:

    Roy,

    The thought occurred to me that maybe Makled has info that Santos doesn’t want in the hands of the US & Chavez knows it.

    Very interesting. Hmmmm

  17. ElJefe Says:

    Interesting commentary, everyone. Although I would like to think that the Chavez regime would be shaken by its own mismanagement of all things economic, I know that this is highly unlikely. Countries can be mismanaged much worse and still survive; my own country Honduras is one such case. 70% of the population is poor and the country’s few industries are notoriously unproductive…and life goes on. Life can get miserable for a majority of Venezuelans but as long as Chavez has some oil money and a few followers, he can stay in power until he expires from natural causes. Look at Cuba as an example. You can do some terrible things to a populace and still remain in power. And yes, the majority of Venezuelans (as well as most Latin Americans) are intellectually isolated and have no idea that things like a dependent judiciary, spectacular acts of corruption and a personalistic caudillo are not normal and are not tolerated in most other countries.


  18. Havent had the time, charts dont look good right now to buy anything, but key support leevls are close….Will try. That post made money if you sold on time. I trade for 10-15% profits, nothing more. PCX did that in two days.

  19. Carlo Says:

    Miguel, just a hint to stimulate your bad day and share some bright hint.
    Why don’t you post an update at Miguel charts? I am still lookin skeptically your 11/04 post and I’m not to sure to load the boat.. Helpppp!!! It’s a scary and fast triffering world..

  20. Roy Says:

    Island,

    I agree. This show of Santos “making nice” with Chavez is going overboard. I know he has to at least pretend, but he doesn’t have to actually mean it!

    Seriously though, even though I don’t see the strategy, I have to believe that Santos does know what he is doing.

  21. island canuck Says:

    Referring back to a previous thread:

    Makled will be returned to Venezuela.

    Colombia extraditará
    a Walid Makled a Venezuela

    “Yo le di mi palabra y una vez se surtan los trámites jurídicos se hará la extradición a Venezuela. Yo soy un hombre de palabra”, aseguró el presidente colombiano, Juan Manuel Santos.

    http://www.eluniversal.com/2010/11/16/pol_ava_colombia-extraditara_16A4735811.shtml

    What the hell is wrong with Santos?

  22. Gringo Says:

    jau:
    Kepler, some of these people will change if you talk to them but with most of the time it is just a waste of time. You got to let them live their life, all you have to make sure is that they do not get to a position of power cuz they will destroy whatever is around them.

    IMHO, Kepler is talking not about the 25-30% that are hard-core Chavista, but the remaining 25-30% who are “wobblies.”

    However, there is an issue with how many can be convinced. There are at least two demographics that will vote Chavista, regardless:
    1) Hard-core
    2) Government employees.

    There are government employees who are not hard-core chavistas. Nonetheless, they will vote Chavista to keep their jobs. They have good reason to fear that their vote is not secret.

    But should the oppo go to the hinterlands ? Yes indeed.

  23. Kepler Says:

    Jau,

    I am not talking about the Venezuelan Taliban. They won’t change.

    I am talking about a small amount of Chavistas and people not voting now.

    Apologies for linking. Just take a look at these charts, please:

    http://venezuela-europa.blogspot.com/2010/09/mapping-voters-and-opportunities.html

    Yellow: not voting.
    The yellow line is usually much higher in places where our politicians never go.

    I know all those places well and I have friends or relatives everywhere there. I talk to them. As I said, they are extra oppo even if they live in the humblest places: people who “quiere echar pa’ lante” and whose children are studying hard and so on. Still: they do not have the rhetoric means to discuss with people in their streets and it is also dangerous. Now: the opposition almost never goes to those regions, people who know to speak well and can quickly address the myths those Chavistas are so keen on spreading (and they are spending loads of money to do that now).
    But Chavistas won’t be getting more votes than now. We need to address above all the ones I charted with the yellow line. Take half of them and just a quarter of the red line and Chavismo is fucked.

    But you don’t do it if you are a national leader and you only go to Trigal Norte and from there to your office in Eastern Caracas or to the Globo studio and once, as a Potemkin village kind of person, to VTV (because VTV is not inviting them again any time soon).

    Carabobo gont a deputy in Guacara because there were very courageous people who did a lot of work in those areas to campaign and to send witnesses and to take people to vote. Mind: most Venezuelans even now have no car and taking a bus on such a day to vote is a real pain in the ass.
    Some of the people in the better-off areas need to be aware they have to help elsewhere.
    If they do we get a majority as we did now in Guacara, in spite of Lucena.

  24. jau Says:

    Loro and others, Chavez has to go ASAP, because you cannot sacrifice 80% of the population for the 20% that will NEVER learn or change.

    Go to Panama and you will find plenty of cars with the sticker of Noriega, he has been in jail for the last X years and still this minority supports him, but the whole country does not deserve him.

    The minority of Afganistan are taliban and will always be taliban, so you say that the whole country deserves them?

    Go around the world and you will see many examples where minorities want to impose their ways with no regard for the rest. That doesnt mean that the rest deserved these lousy governments.

    Kepler, some of these people will change if you talk to them but with most of the time it is just a waste of time. You got to let them live their life, all you have to make sure is that they do not get to a position of power cuz they will destroy whatever is around them.

  25. Roy Says:

    Kepler,

    In a democracy, people get the government they deserve. Sometimes I wonder if Chavez is benign in comparison to what many Venezuelans truly deserve.

    All,

    Unfortunately (Deananash), I think that the concept that a dictatorship will fail if people simply stop enabling it (physically or figuratively) is merely wishful thinking. What does happen is that such a nation becomes weakened and demoralized to such an extent that they are easily conquered or dominated from outside.

    Of course, with the U.N. Charter, we don’t allow that any longer (mostly). As an aside, I sometimes wonder about the ultimate wisdom of “freezing national borders forever”. Having done so, we have created a situation in which regional conflicts simply continue to simmer forever and are never truly settled. OK, aside finished. Back to Venezuela…

    At this point, the fate of Venezuela is no longer in the hands of Venezuelans. The question becomes will the U.S., and the rest of the Latin American nations sit still while China turns Venezuela into its own personal resource depot, or will they decide to intervene collectively to protect their access to Venezuelan resources.

  26. Kepler Says:

    The problem is that you forget Venezuelans haven’t gone through the WHOLE experience of the Germans, the Japanese, etc.

    The Germans had a highly educated society who could very quickly adapt, recover, learn and use the past. The Japanese had the same. The Italians did not have such a level of education everywhere, as the South was and still is living through the Middle Ages but in some regions they did and they had a very clear idea of their very long history and what they could do. Germans were producing most Nobel prizes of chemistry and physics before they elected Hitler.

    Humboldt noticed very much this: Venezuelans have no real sense of history. They lost the little spoken records there could have been from the native American and African past and they almost completely lost and mostly have no affinity with their European past, even if they are mostly the product of that past, both culturally and genetically.

    As Humboldt wrote in the early XIX century, Venezuelans only had memories of the Indepence times and of the Conquista.

    They think their country is “new”, everything is new, they are just the victims of something beyond their control.
    And so, Venezuelans don’t take a long look at what is happening in world history and where they are really heading.

    But I will also Godwin myself:
    Listen to minute 5 to 9. The voice is a crappy Russian dubbing, but you have the English subtitles.

    “34 parties”. Déjà vu?
    That was 1932.

  27. loroferoz Says:

    I said that trying to figure out the internal workings of the psychology of the man or his “ideology” is a quite useless exercise. They are far away from common sense, and these are great propaganda points. Specially if you posses a more consistent worldview and are intent in presenting it, in contrast to the many manias of Hugo Chavez.

    Never meant that Hugo had to be forcibly removed. I don’t believe that either. I don’t, not because I have nothing against ending a President’s period (they have no right to their post, no right for it to be easy and no right to piss off people up to the point where they plan their removal).

    It’s because Venezuela has shown to us that Hugo is a symptom of something uglier in Venezuelans’ heads. They have to witness a full, exhaustive demonstration of Hugo Chavez and his “ideas”, particularly where these resonate with the Venezuelans’ own mental hangups and childish beliefs.

    I will Godwin myself. To get sense again The Chileans had to have chaos, a and 17 years dictatorship. The Argentineans have cured partially, but still dictatorship and a lost war. The Germans, bombing, occupation, division of their country and forced tours of concentration camps. The Japanese, two atomic bombs and a view to a future of raw pain. The Italians turned around around half-way through, but still had to have three years of a bloody civil (and conventional) war.

    If it sounds cruel, remember the peoples above did this to themselves or brought it on themselves. Well, Venezuelans will bring something, maybe milder than the Chileans, upon themselves. Though I doubt it, because with 20000 odd murders a year right now…

  28. torres Says:

    The answer is right under our noses and we don’t want to see it.

    Given: oil, gas, coal, gold, uranium, bauxite, hydro, weather, nature, low population, location, location, location…

    Past: centralized sales of oil = inequality, injustice, corruption, failing market.

    Future: distributed sales of oil = reducing inequality, reducing mismanagement, reducing corruption, fueling consumer market.

  29. Kepler Says:

    Deananash,

    I don’t understand it. You are recommending the Atlas Shrugged and yet you know of the Cuba case, which is very close to us.

    And you know how much oil Venezuela has. Venezuela has enough oil to let 30 million Venezuelans have enough food and beer and dance Reageaton for decades. Sex is for free.

    If you live over 500 meters above sea level you may need some days a blanket. You need a roof of sorts for the tropical rain.
    Eso es todo. The rest of the world goes on like it has done. And Chávez can count on support as long as there is something the Chinese can extract from Venezuela.

    If those with education and awareness retract now (and I can’t blame them, I am abroad), the rest will act like bee drones most of the time.
    If something breaks, they just let the Chinese do it.

    So, I think we need to create awareness as much as we can, talk in very succint ways about the issues no one has talked about before (at least to the masses)

  30. deananash Says:

    Regarding John Galt (Atlas Shrugged), I strongly recommend it (of course). And leaving or simply staying and withdrawing your mind does work. Albeit not the way we’d prefer.

    Gringo is right, Cuba has been “Galted” and still Fidel remains. But now, it is full of ‘moochers’ and they are basically getting what they deserve. (And yes, I know that there are many innocents suffering: “The sins of the father are visited upon the children.”)

    metodex: I can speak authoritatively regarding China, having lived and worked there for 6+ years. The government and the people have a tacit understanding – they ‘allow’ the dictatorship in exchange for economic growth. (Basically, everyone agrees that ‘stability’ is key to growth.)

    Of course, China is HUGE, so while there are some who violently disagree with this, they are the minority. When the Chinese people – en masse – want to be free, they will be free.

    It may take bloodshed – but hopefully not. For now though, after so many years (decades) of ABSOLUTE POVERTY, they just want to each take their turn at getting rich. Or, at owning an electric bicycle. Try walking (or even peddling) everywhere for about 3 days and you’ll quickly come to appreciate their feelings.

    Lastly, most people, educated or not, have no real sense of just how successful China is becoming. But I can tell you, when you have so many bright young people studying for 12 – 14 hours per day, 6 and 7 days per week, your future is much brighter than it might appear to the naked eye.

    And there is freedom of private speech in China. And China does allow proxies, so IF YOU ARE AN EDUCATED CHINESE, then you don’t really have a problem with access to information.

    As usual, it’s all about manipulating (controlling) the poor masses – something Chavez excels at.

  31. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, I understand no one has said those truths and we are not to expect politicos to do that if they haven’t done it before. But what we can do is to tell this to people who bring up this message…some of the “best” journalists, try to write about that, talk about that and hope some of it sticks. Someone has to start:

    Venezuela no es rica. Solo lo será cuando sus ciudadanos produzcan algo, no con petróleo. Solo será rica cuando sus ciudadanos tengan una educación real – no mojoneada (excuse my French) buena.

    We cannot and should not say it like Uslar anymore. Only the few understood him.
    We need to say it almost in the same simple ways as Chavistas are now spreading their bullshit: “construímos una patria socialista”. The thing is what we say has never really been said in Venezuela but in some close door environment.
    Uslar said it, but perhaps in too many words for the Venezuelans’ attention span.

  32. Juancho Says:

    People used to make to make the mistake of thinking Michael Jackson was really an “normal” person acting strangely or badly. Only later did they realize he was not remotely normal and was not consciously acting at all. Nothing about Chavez suggests that he is normal, no normal arguments and normal means will reap no results. I don’t really know what will turn this around, save a Latino Churchhiil or Lincoln. Sadly, I suspect it might get a whole lot worse before it gets much better.

    JUANCHO

  33. vdpsc Says:

    Thank you for your efforts. What you are doing is important. It has been at least 4 years since I have been to Venezuela for a wedding. Three of my siblings now live in the states, as well as myself. I have a brother and father still in Venezuela. I worry for them. My father loves Venezuela. He could leave. He would lose most of what he has worked for but would probably be fine given the nature of our family. He worries for the people and families that work in his enterprise. If he leaves they will have nothing. I often call and can tell he is troubled. It has affected his health. On other occasions he expresses optimism. He says this is what we have, we must keep working. Pray for the next election. A lot of people are praying for all of you. I am also seeing evidence of support in subtle ways. CITGO franchises continue to disappear. I share your information with all of my friends. Thank you again!


  34. Lots of good comments and I have had a bad day in robolutionary paradise. Don’t think I will have the energy to post. So, some random thougths on everything:

    Read Atlas Shrugged. I read it when I was 18 and did not grasp all of it. Read it again maybe 4-5 years ago, very impressive and thought provoking. Worth the time, even if it is long.

    Venezuelans dont look at examples. We are all embellished by the thought we are a rich country, we have money and the like. When was the last time any politician, from either side, mentioned Chile as an example? That is how far our politicians are from looking or finding for solutions. Sad but true, we have lots of politicians, but few leaders or visionaries.

    As to the leaders, Leopoldo Lopez has one thing right: He is going all over the country. Day after day, creating a nationwide structure that is not even a party (yet). As far as I can remember, he is the third politician to do that, CAP, Chavez and now him. He is in no hurry either.

    Leaving is hard, but I see the future so bleak, that anyone with family should just take off. Danger is just around the corner, if crime does not get you, the Government or its crooks will, whichever comes first. I have seen all very up close this year, it has been scary and ugly, don’t wish it on anyone.

  35. Carlos Says:

    Gringo.. Roy is right. Young, skilled and educated people MUST LEAVE..
    Would you see a graduated engineer from USB or UCAB reporting to a captain in CANTV? Or dressing a red shirt in PDVSA?? No way man, I am now offering financial support to both my graduated kids to run away, stay away , far away..

    BTW: Many cubans quit in the 60’s, as you say 10-15%… Now, let us see sons and grandsons of the 15% that quit and the 85% that never did. The ones near the best of world the others in the worst.
    Got the message??

  36. Speed Gibson Says:

    Im curious as to see which asshole leader spends more time out of the country pissing away money….Chavez or Obama ? Obama of course takes Moochelle with him so that counts as double….or maybe triple if you count her butt. Does Hugo have a significant other?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6AE3GV20101115

  37. Kepler Says:

    Sure it is a problem almost everywhere, but there are degrees. Firstly: it is worse if the country is Venezuela than if the country is a developed nation with a democracy. Then there are differences between countries.

    Western Europe is very good connected, more people speak several languages in Germanic countries (Britain not counted) and the space for news about other countries tends to be bigger.

    Still, of course, there are lots of misconceptions, as I said earlier.

  38. Maria Gonzalez Says:

    Kepler,
    You are right, most people in Venezuela do not have a good reference of what is happening in other countries and compare……they could realized that “esa mierda no es normal” as you said in one of your comments. Venezuelan has forgotten what is a good and normal “quality of life”

    However I do not think that is better in other countries…at least not in the USA where I have lived for a long time. The problem there is that everybody thinks that there is not a better place to live, and can’t understand what in other countries are also “good quality of life”

    ON the other hand, many Venezuelans are living like “the avestruz” about what is happening in Venezuela. I have many friends that when I talk to them in the phone I know more about the news from Venezuela that they do.

    Another thing that we have to recognize is the values in Venezuela are a little bit disturbed. The external personal look is so overemphasized and the fact that a lot of people think that beign successful means to get everything in the easy way…”la mentalitdad del mas vivo” …For Venezuela to get out of this mess will require everybody to changes their values and work very very hard.

  39. Kepler Says:

    Metodex,

    About China: I have never been to that country. A couple of people here (Miguel?) have. I do know several Chinese, mostly scientists and I read a bit about China (I learn Chinese).
    There is a lot of misery in that country, a lot of people working under inhumane conditions and the average salary is very low.
    Not for nothing there are so many Chinese working in Venezuela and even in Lesotho, of all places (interesting article in The Economist some weeks ago about that).

    Still, China is indeed going through an incredible transformation and it will most likely become the next super power if the whole world does not collapse before from this or that. Jared Diamond was saying that if China were to consume as much metals as the US does per capita, the world would need to double the extraction of iron. They are far from it and they will be far from it for some decades, but they are on the road.
    China is going through what Japan went in the Meiji period in the XIX century. China is sending thousands and thousands to other countries. Many will stay. Others will go back and China will profit from that.

    The thing is we do have to come to terms with this, but also tell these chavistas: sorry, but China is communist only in as much as they have one dictatorship with one party and everything is called “popular”. Other than that, the US was more socialist even during Reagan times than China now.
    And in Europe most countries have a parliamentary system and that is the reason why there are no term limits for prime ministers, and parliamentary systems are different from presidential ones, and people in Europe or even in Chile have 50 times less chances of being murdered on the streets (Colombians half the chances, Mexicans less).
    The heads of state in Europe can send their children to public schools (but for the British ones) and the revolutionary ones would never do that in Venezuela…
    If there is a “socialist” government in Europe, but for Belarus, it is a government, not the state and not the system.
    Of course, the topics to touch depend on the person, but basically we need to give Venezuelans some references, frameworks, we often forget others do not have.

    A German friend told me recently how once a friend of theirs escaped from the Soviet Union. He, a scientist, was from Kazakhstan. After several years, he managed to buy a car and he sent once a picture of his with his car and his flat. His family sent him a letter saying that they were very very hurt because he was lying to them in such a cheap way. They knew people could not be so rich.

  40. Kepler Says:

    Metodex,

    Just take a look at Aporrea. There you see the extremes.
    I also saw a group in facebook with Chavistas and non Chavistas “debating”
    and the ideas from the “better educated” among the Chavistas were amazing.
    Mind: I have lots of relatives who live in humble areas. They are all now opposition if not VERY opposition, just one (rather better off) who is married to a weird llanero and lives in the Llanos.

    Most of my aunts and uncles are like the average Venezuelan: never been abroad, doesn’t speak another language. I get into conversations with them and I start to ask them things about other countries and systems. Why do I do that? I tell them, honestly: I want to find out what people know and I know they know better than many others in their areas. They know me well and have no problem to answer to my “interrogatorio”. And there is a lot they don’t know and when I tell them they are much angrier about Chávez. Now take the others, the Chavistas who live in front of their houses…they are in a completely different world.

    Even if people have to be ready for, there is a lot we can do to inform people. The problem often is that we, the ones who have another passport or a lot of stamps and visas, the ones who have loads of books at home, the ones whose parents went to university, we often forget how little access and intellectual stimuli other people have.

    Mind: it does not happen only in Venezuela, just look at all those pendejos sin frontera or just spend some time in Europe and get to hear the questions people ask about Venezuela.

    Even Internet does not bring much. If you don’t speak another language (same thing happens in Russia or Belarus, to a lesser degree, but then they were isolated for a long time and never had really much of a democracy) you can live in parallel worlds for a long time.

  41. Roy Says:

    Lim,

    I can certainly sympathize with the domestic problems. My longtime Venezuelan girlfriend is ambiguous (at best about the idea of moving). She certainly understands my position, but… well, you know how it is…

    For my part, for the last two years, I have been doing very little because I have not wanted to invest here, given the conditions. So, living here, I am bored and stressed out all at the same time.

    As for reading Atlas Shrugged, it is a long hard book to read. It is an interesting and even entertaining read, but it requires a significant a commitment of time. The book delves deeply into the author’s moral and political philosophy. If one is truly interested this subject from a scholarly point of view, I would say it is a “must read”. If you are only interested in the subject in connection with its practical applications, I would tell you not to bother it. On the other hand, if you have read and enjoy Russian literature, go for it! On yet another hand (there is an unlimited supply of philosophical “hands”) if you are going “Galt”, you will probably have the time available to read it.

    Also, “sharing my frustration” is mostly what my participation on this blog is all about. We are not changing minds here; only preaching to the choir.

  42. Kepler Says:

    We have been over that before. Ustedes son gringos que viven en Venezuela y deberían saberlo.
    As a friend of my parents said, a very wise Latvian physician who first fled from the Soviet Union, worked a lot in Venezuela and then migrated again to Canada said, “el problema, chico, es que en Venezuela se puede vivir si se tiene una mata de mango…y si se tienen dos es ya bueno para la mayoría porque pueden colgar el chinchorro sin necesidad de mucho trabajo”.

    Venezuela is a parasyte nation that can live from oil for decades, ceteris paribus. We have 20-35 degrees celsius all year around.

  43. Gringo Says:

    Roy:
    2) Leave. Yes, as simple as that… leave. By that I mean take your capital, your skills and as much as you can out of the country to some other place that needs and appreciates you. Vote with your feet. This is already happening. Young professionals can’t find work here, so they move to Colombia or Panama. It has the same effect on the regime as the first alternative.

    A substantial proportion of the Cuban population -10 15%?- left Castro’s paradise. That didn’t reduce Fidel’s power, but increased it, by having an articulate, educated opposition out of the way.

    Perhaps people going “Galt” will make the difference. Don’t know.

  44. Lim Says:

    Roy,
    Thank you for sharing my frustration.
    I am prepared to consider your first suggestion. Do you recommend reading Atlas Srugged? I mean, is it a good book? I’ve only seen a review probably written by the author. I already see advantages in going Galt rather than arguing with my wife.

  45. Roy Says:

    Lim,

    There two other ways:

    1) Go John Galt (a la Atlas Shrugged) and “withhold your mind” from the service of the regime. This is DeanaNash’s suggestion. It has its merits, but it only works quickly if you get the majority of the productive people involved. So far, it has never happened this way in history. Normally, in this type of regime, it happens slowly of its own accord, because productive people tend to stand out and get persecuted. The safer course is to turn off one’s mind and blend into the masses.

    2) Leave. Yes, as simple as that… leave. By that I mean take your capital, your skills and as much as you can out of the country to some other place that needs and appreciates you. Vote with your feet. This is already happening. Young professionals can’t find work here, so they move to Colombia or Panama. It has the same effect on the regime as the first alternative.

    Eventually, when enough people of ability have left or gone “Galt”, the economy of the country will simply grind to a halt and society will revert to barbarism for a short while. I expect to be watching that part on the news and not from my balcony, as I am one of the people who is leaving. I wish all those who remain good luck.

  46. Lim Says:

    Island, loroferoz,
    We have tried to get rid of these people. There was a coup, many elections, a general strike, hunger strikes, kitchen pot banging, demonstrations, screaming, crying… And the guy doesn’t go. No point going for another coup, because there is no indication that the officers left in the armed forces are any better than Chavez. Elections are useless because the elected opposition candidates will have practically no power. General strikes don’t work because some people will stay out (like the truckers did the last time). Banging pots? Please! Demonstrations show that most people in Caracas hate Chavez, but we already know that. Wait for him to die? Look at the Castro brothers. The situation is bad, but not for lack of trying. Chavez will be forced to go only when his regime can’t continue giving away money to those who made themselves dependent on the State. If the oil price goes back up, forget it.

  47. metodex Says:

    Kepler,is there some website of blog you can recommend ?? i am really interested in what you said:

    “but what I am most worried about are the ignorant people in Venezuela, who have no idea of what is going on in the world: no idea what China really is now, no idea what conditions people have to go through in Cuba, what things people really have in Europe, in the States, no idea about what the difference is between state and government”

    I see people talking about cuba like the almighty nation and china being the economic power right now(based on GDP stats i am reluctant to believe in). How can you live in a country thats an economy monster but you can’t say anything about the governent because you get to jail.

  48. island canuck Says:

    There was a system in place.

    Presidential elections that occurred every 5 years & a president could not run 2 consecutive terms. Excellent idea.

    A more or less independent judiciary

    An independent central bank

    An AN that was representative.

    We’ve lost all these things through laziness or complacency.
    It will be very difficult to get them back through normal means.

    He’s said over & over that he will not leave.
    What other options do we have?

  49. loroferoz Says:

    A very wise Venezuelan said that Medina Angarita did not know how to lie. Carlos Andres Perez did not know how to tell the truth. And Hugo Chavez cannot tell the difference between the two.

    I might add, or does not care to know the difference.

    How much is his confidence scam (to get us into Socialism)… How much is self-delusion… How much is plain psychosis… How much is subscribing (and creating) a mumbo-jumbo ideology… How much is demagogy and populism… How much is winging it… How much is him being out of touch with reality because of power… How much is plain corruption on his part…

    After 12 years of dissembling made into ideology and practice, I don’t care either.

    Like the man in the Fuhrerbunker, he has to go. Like the proverbial diapers in the simile with politicians and for the same reasons, he is long overdue. Much more so because he started Full of It.

    And we have to seriously think on the ways to prevent this from ever happening again. To build a system of government that does not encourage the above situations.

  50. Kepler Says:

    Perhaps no one can be so stupid, but what I am most worried about are the ignorant people in Venezuela, who have no idea of what is going on in the world: no idea what China really is now, no idea what conditions people have to go through in Cuba, what things people really have in Europe, in the States, no idea about what the difference is between state and government (I don’t mean formal definitions, just no nonsense explanations).

    Venezuelans may in principle have access to Internet (although connection access is lower than in similar countries in Latin America) and some have cable TV and some travel, but most have really no idea what is going on outside their borders.

    Let’s remember this and let’s talk to people about what is going on outside their limited sights.

  51. Fred Says:

    Miguel:

    You said: “The man who used to walk the streets, no longer even rides the subway, limiting himself to making statements of what he is told and clearly, he is not being told the truth”.

    I agree with Robert. Chavez knows exactly what is going on. He’s said it himself in the past ….. I know everything that goes on in Venezuela. Nobody can be that stupid to not know how everything is failing.

  52. Roberto N Says:

    Sorry, I meant Antonio!

  53. Roberto N Says:

    No Robert, it is coming. But first come other smaller ones that do business with Polar.

  54. HalfEmpty Says:

    Cartoon is even funnier if the purloied wheel is being used as a hat.

  55. Antonio Says:

    Miguel,
    Thank you for the summary of yesterday’s Alo Presidente. Chavez tends to issue orders from his Sunday show, but it sems that he is dragging his feet on the Polar case. How many more warnings is Mendoza going to get? Chavez appears reluctant to issue the royal “expropiese” himself. Perhaps he is trying to get the employees to do the takeover themselves. Not without the assistance of a lot of red shirts from elsewhere and the usual army types, I don’t think. Is Mendoza calling his bluff?

  56. Robert Says:

    Careful mo………..at times it sounds like you are defending chavez as being misinformed by his lackeys. Rather I think he is fully aware and just evil.

  57. Eduardo Says:

    As the divorce between promises and reality grows bigger, the lies need to be bigger.

    We must not forget tha politics has a strong component of emotion. There are many people who FEELS that he’s doing right, and they will not change of mind until something very strong shakes them.

    And they need to realize by themselves.

    By the way, thanks for the blog!

  58. USpace Says:

    .
    Great post, great blog. Chavez es muy malo.
    .
    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    be president for life

    forget some strong reforms
    just dismantle government
    .


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